Chemical Engineering

The Chemical Engineering course is taught by the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, which is a separate department to Engineering within the School of Technology. Students start off reading either Engineering or Natural Sciences and change after one year to Chemical Engineering for the final three years of the four-year course. These routes provide equally good preparation for the Chemical Engineering Tripos undertaken in subsequent years. 

What makes the Cambridge Chemical Engineering course so special?

Entry via either the Natural Sciences or Engineering route, and the opportunity to engage with a wide range of topics (from sustainability to product design) as well as depth (in specialist topic modules) in the final year. Research projects that regularly lead to journal publications, and a friendly department. 

How many students take Chemical Engineering at Newnham and what options do they choose?

There are typically between two and four in a year, entering via Engineering or Natural Sciences. The relatively small number is offset by the friendly nature of the Department and projects which mean that students from different colleges mix and connect early on. 

How will I be taught at Newnham?

Exactly as at other colleges – the Director of Studies coordinates with Directors of Studies at a number of other Colleges.

Can you tell me more about the Chemical Engineering Fellows?

For information on the current teaching staff and Fellows for Chemical Engineering, please visit our teaching webpages.

What jobs do Newnham Chemical Engineering students go on to do?

Industry, government, management consultancy, teaching, further study. 

Are there any A-level subjects that are particularly useful?

Chemical Engineering via Engineering: Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics are essential. Further Mathematics is recommended.

Chemical Engineering via Natural Sciences: Chemistry and Mathematics are essential. Further Mathematics is recommended.

Can I take a gap year?

A gap year spent doing something which broadens your experience is encouraged: the greater maturity and independence you have before starting the University course, the better. The Year in Industry is one of the organisations which can set you up with a placement, or you can apply directly to companies. Another worthwhile thing to do is to travel and work abroad for a year. But you should only aim to take a gap year if you have definite ambitions and plans for what to do: it’s important not just to sit about at home! 

How should I prepare for interview at Newnham?

At the interview, be prepared to answer questions on topics that you have covered in your course to date. If you are interested in a particular sector that chemical engineers work in, find out what they do in that sector. 

If invited to interview, you will be asked to participate in a writing and drawing exercise. Keeping a sketchbook will be useful preparation for this. 

Is there an Admissions Assessment for Chemical Engineering?

Yes – applicants for 2022 entry are required to take a pre-interview written assessment, for which you need to register by 15 October. For information about the format of the assessment, and how to register, see the University website: 

Where can I find out more?

  • What is Chemical Engineering? 
  • Why study Chemical Engineering? 
  • Why study Chemical Engineering at Cambridge? 

The answers to these questions – and more – are on the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology website

The Engineering Subject Overview on the ‘My HE+’ website also provides information and resources for exploring your subject. 

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